Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans Buys New Digs in TriBeCa

January 1, 2006

Stone Gets to the Art of Life in Urban Jungle

Michelle Stone is a highly successful real estate broker who—in a prior career—helmed one of the world’s most inventive architecture firms. Now a commercial broker who specializes in the city’s downtown neighborhoods, over two decades ago Stone was also an author, photographer, and principal of New York-based architecture firm, SITE.

Stone is managing director at Sinvin Realty Corp., which has negotiated more leases and sales than any other brokerage company in the neighborhoods of Soho, Tribeca, Chelsea, Flatiron, and the Meatpacking District. In her eight years at Sinvin, Stone has been responsible for transactions totaling close to 100 million dollars in leases and sales.

Among the clients that Stone has represented at Sinvin are Cornell University, Ajinomoto, Cadogan Management, Harvard University, and Toyota.

One of Stone’s latest transactions was a 12,000-square-foot lease for 1100 Architect, the award-winning and startlingly innovative architecture firm. The firm recently earned an excellence award from NYACE for its collaborative work on the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City, which includes grasses and stones from every county in Ireland, as well as an abandoned cottage that dates back to the era of the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-19th century.

For the billion-dollar hedge fund Cadogan Management, Stone secured 11,000 square feet of space at the handsome, prewar 149 Fifth Avenue. The investment bankers hired architect David Fratianne to build out their space, based on the strength of his work for MTV, Herman Miller, and Calpurnia Group.

“It’s my objective to fuse the aesthetic with the functional in my real estate work, and assist those companies who want and need my special expertise,” says Stone.

Earlier this year, Stone was made exclusive leasing agent for four floors at 535 West 24th Street. The 1906 Chelsea building was first constructed as stables for the Fifth Avenue Coach Line, and has been redeveloped as highly polished office and gallery space. Recently, Danese Gallery signed a 10-year lease for the 6,400-square-foot penthouse. Frank Rogin Gallery has also just taken a 10-year lease for 3,000 square feet in the building.

Over time, the 24th Street structure has been the location of studio space for Richard Avedon and several others who are among the century’s best photographers. The Rathe family, owners of the building since 1956, stored their car collection there, including the 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead driven by Tippie Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Their scenery production shop in the building also produced three authentic, full-sized Chinese junks, among other marvels.

Prior to joining Sinvin, Stone was managing director for one of the most innovative architectural firms internationally: SITE. Throughout SITE’s impressive history, Stone was responsible for producing works of architectural significance in th U.S., Europe and Asia. As managing director of the firm, Stone was responsible for the financial, management and creative aspects of the company.

At SITE, Stone’s clients were such large corporations as Swatch, MTV, PepsiCo, MCA Universal, Isuzu, General Mills, and McDonalds; municipalities such as the City of Vancouver, Canada, the City of Hiroshima, Japan, the City of Baltimore, Md., the City of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and cultural institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the George Pompidou Center.

SITE made a name for itself by creating a series of fantastic buildings for Best Products Company in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. These buildings were constructed from Florida to California. They did such amazing things as move, crumble, and house 50-foot terrariums complete with waterfalls in their facades.

In 1976, Stone co-authored Unbuilt America, a 200-year history of unbuilt architecture in the United States, which was published by McGraw-Hill. Unbuilt America received an Art Director’s Club award for book design.

Stone’s photographs have appeared in books and magazines internationally. And she has been exhibited at museums and galleries in North America and Europe.

Stone was a recipient of the Rome Prize in 1977, for her work done on Unbuilt America, and throughout the years her research and development has been recognized and awarded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Family Fund, The Samuel H. Kress Foundations, and the Graham Foundation. In 1995, Stone and other SITE principals were presented with the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design.

Stone’s international business experience and wide ranging professional career uniquely qualify her to understand and organize the aesthetic, financial, and functional aspects of a project for her clients.